CARAS works from the perspective that people of refugee background are marginalised in the UK and can and do face a complex range of barriers that prevent access to rights, entitlements, opportunities and a good quality of life. These barriers must be addressed comprehensively through education, advocacy, and campaigns work for social change.

The services offered by CARAS are designed to empower beneficiaries by providing information, tools, resources, and opportunities. We work with beneficiaries respectfully, recognizing that the system in place to support people of refugee background is confusing and overwhelming, with the odds stacked against attaining equal access.

We think empowerment happens when people have decision making power of their own; access to information and resources to make proper decisions; a range of options from which they can make choices; ability to exercise assertiveness in collective decision making; and ability to increase their positive self‐image and overcome stigma. CARAS has designed its organisational mission, and services on this basis.



CARAS recognises the transformative power of building supportive relationships and has embedded clear methods of relational working in all of our practice. We believe that creating an environment in which people are valued, respected and encouraged to participate at whatever level they are able is the basis of a strong community. Our groups are relaxed and allow people the time they need to settle and build friendships which allow them to grow in confidence, contribute ideas, share their worries and ask for support when necessary. We also offer one-to-one intensive support for people in times of crisis or transition, during which we will work together to build confidence and skills.

Relational work is a method which has largely fallen out of statutory social work because of the demands it places on time. However, we believe that it is extremely valuable; it is the strength of these supportive relationships which has allowed us to work intensively and successfully with so many people who are wary of other services. We recognise that friends, family, teachers, social groups and other significant, stable relationships all have a positive contribution to make in working with someone through an identified difficulty. We operate within a culture of belief and trust, aiming to support people to achieve their goals.

CARAS Governance



CARAS is committed to a transparent and collaborative approach. Consequently:


Meetings at all levels are open to all members of CARAS to observe with confidential items such as HR or safeguarding reserved for the final agenda item.

There will be a 10 minute ‘open forum’ at the start of each meeting.

Agendas for strategic team and trustee meetings are shared in the bulletin and in projects with invitation for comment.

Redacted minutes from strategic team and trustee meetings are available to all CARAS members on request.




Trustees will be people with experience in finance, management, HR, safeguarding, RAS background, community work.

Trustees are elected annually at the AGM. New trustees can also be co-opted throughout the year.

Trustees will complete the CARAS trustee induction programme.

Trustees will visit the organisation and have an opportunity to meet with the staff, volunteers and beneficiaries.



All salaried staff members are automatically members of the strategic team.

The strategic team must at all times have a non-staff membership of over 50%.

The non-staff element will be made up of CARAS volunteers and beneficiaries.

There must be at all times at least one beneficiary on the strategic team.

New members of the strategic team will be elected by the strategic team.

Strategic team members will complete the CARAS strategic team induction programme.



All staff, interns and office-based volunteers are members of the operational team.